“A QUIET PLACE: PART II”
“A QUIET PLACE: PART II”
Starring Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt
Written by John Krasinski
Based on characters created by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck
Directed by John Krasinski
Produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, John Krasinski
Cinematography by Polly Morgan
Edited by Michael P. Shawver
Music by Marco Beltrami
By Matt Neufeld
John Krasinki’s ill-fated, unnecessary and wholly forgettable “A Quiet Place: Part II” is a huge, below-average, cliched and unoriginal disappointment. The movie is also yet another in a too-long line of sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, reimaginings, off-shoots, franchisees and other side affects of Hollywood’s own pandemic that many, included this website, have dubbed sequelitis. One would think that Hollywood suits, studios, production companies and movie theaters–themselves brought to the literal brink of disaster from the virus pandemic of 2020 and 2021–would have taken note of their own pandemic–sequelitis–during the past year, done some serious reflecting and subsequently re-introduce the filmgoing public to movies in movie theaters not with tired, cliched–and unnecessary–sequels but instead with a shining slate of new and original movies to bring filmgoers back to the theaters with renewed vigor, optimism and excitement.
Is “A Quiet Place: Part II” the movie to welcome back people to movie theaters? No–it isn’t. Not on any level–not regarding production, direction, writing or acting. Don’t waste your time, effort or money. Don’t even worry about missing anything if you don’t go see it–because there is nothing to miss. There’s no real story, no real plot, no real sub-plot, and just about zero character, story, plot or narrative development. And even though people are supposed to remain quiet in this movie because the attacking alien monsters find and kill their victims based on noise, this movie still needed real, in-depth, intelligent dialogue, conversation and basic human interaction with real words–and all of that is generally missing throughout this movie.
Adding to all of these deficiencies is an overall and too-bleak depressing, grim and violent mood and atmosphere that generally takes away any chances of sustained move entertainment.
And the ending of “A Quiet Place: Part II” is one of the worst, most rip-off and most unsatisfying endings for any movie in ages–abrupt, unsatisfying and completely ridiculous.
Although the negative aspects of this movie are many, as noted, the main problem is with the story, writing, dialogue–or lack thereof, again–and the overall screenplay. The movie is literally lacking in story, story lines, story development, plot, plot development, sublots and subplot development. Here is essentially what happens in the movie, and this is not being mean, rude, glib, sarcastic or disrespectful, but just true: A group of people walk, or sometimes run, from place to place trying to escape flying, crawling ugly blind monsters who are overly sensitive to noise and who are trying to kill the people, all occurring during a post-apocalyptic time when the creatures have killed most people on Earth. That’s it. Were you expecting more? There isn’t much more. That is literally what happens in the movie, from cliched start to cliched finish.
However, that would be somewhat fine for any standard Saturday afternoon B-movie late-night creature feature double feature picture show, but–the better creature features at least have some semblance, some attempt, some hint of deeper meaning. Even the worst and even the just-average bug-eyed monster B-movies had at least some parable always present underneath–man playing god, environmental mistakes, science-related stupidity mistakes, nuclear build-ups, the Cold War, man’s destruction of Earth, anti-war lessons, man’s inhumanity against man, and on and on. The first “A Quiet Place,” from 2018, had some of this deeper meaning, and that deeper meaning is what helped that creature feature succeed. The first film stood as a parable, message and moral about parenthood and all of the thousands of important aspects that go along with parenthood. Krasinski has said that that was what the first film was about–in essence, parenthood–and that basic message, moral, lesson and theme propelled that movie along to success by combining the creature feature chills and thrills with a consistent, attendant, concurrent underlying deeper message and meaning.
All of that is missing in the second film. Yes, Krasinski has said that he intended the second movie to focus on the children and how they grow, evolve and mature to adulthood–but the message doesn’t work, it’s not clear, it doesn’t come through, and most of the movie, again, is so thin, transparent, cliched and tiresome–repetitive, even–the intended messages of growing up and maturing just plain do not come through as Krasinki intended.
As mentioned, the story, script, plot, writing and dialogue are so thin and cliched, there’s not time for any deeper meaning or message to evolve. Krasinski needed to round out and fill out the basic run-and-chase, chase-and-run jump-scare chills and thrills with some background and subplot and dialogue.
Some backstory on the main family, the Abbotts–showing them in pre-apocalyptic times as a happy, whole and wholesome successful family enjoying themselves like any normal family enjoys themselves–would have been great.
Some backstory on the actual aliens would have greatly lifted this movie–even more so and even more inventively than the back story on the Abbotts. Exactly who are these things, exactly where did they come from, exactly why did they come to Earth, exactly why is killing people seemingly the only thing that these things do, who runs them, how did they get to Earth, what is their plan? None of this–absolutely none of this, nada, nothing–is presented, hinted at, suggested or explained in “Part II”–nothing.
And some individual back story on each of the four main characters–mom Evelyn Abott (the always-ravishing Emily Blunt, who still manages to look great even while bloodied and dirty); daughter Regan Abbott (the absolutely wonderfully talented Millicent Simmonds, who easily steals the movie from everyone and everything else); son Marcus Abbott (an equally strong acting performance from Noah Jupe); and Abbott family friend Emmett (alas, Cillian Murphy in a thankless, cliched role that is strangely written and strangely presented and which ultimately never fully registers on a strong level).
A good scriptwriter could have eased all three of these back stories–on the Abbott family, on the aliens and on Emmett–into the story as flashbacks connected to the present, and that likely, probably, would have lifted up this movie about a thousand levels. In fact, if these back stories would have been included, written well and directed well, this movie could have been great.
Alas, we’re just left with—-people running from monsters and monsters running after people. And that, again, just never adds up to anything.
The cliches are numerous throughout the movie, too.
For movies’ sake, please, all filmmakers: Stop showing scenes of scary monsters crawling fast on walls and ceilings. This was tired, oh, about thirty years ago. Yet for some strange reason, in literally hundreds of bad, cliched and unoriginal modern-day horror, science fiction, supernatural and paranormal movies during the last thirty years and especially so during the last twenty years, cliched moviemakers seem to think that they must include not one but several scenes showing monsters running and crawling on walls and ceilings. But while the guys in the computer rooms are working hard to present these effects via computers on screen, their hard work is cancelled out because the affect, the scene, the very idea of scary monsters running and crawling on walls and ceilings is so tired, cliched and unoriginal, even the most infrequent moviegoer is going to instinctively yawn at this sight. So, filmmakers: Stop it. Do not show scary monsters running and crawling on walls and ceilings. Just stop it.
Yet another modern-day movie cliche is also annoyingly irritatingly, horrificly (in a bad way) and unoriginally presented in “A Quiet Place: Part II,” and this needs to immediately stop, too: The horrible terrible awful non-melodic, non-rhythmic, non-harmonic, non-beat-filled, non-chord-filled, non-riff-filled, droning, screeching, monotone and monotonous noisy almost-music-like soundtrack. The lesson here, too, to filmmakers is: Stop it. Just stop it. Film score composers have to get back to writing film music that actually resembles music–and that means melody, rhythm, harmony, beats, chords, riffs and actual music played by actual human people playing actual real musical instruments. For some reason, a copycat trend has occurred with several modern-day film score composers who mistakenly think it’s cool new, original or refreshing to plague movies with irritating scores that are not scores, music that is not music and sounds that are not musical. It’s tired, it’s annoying, it’s awful–and it ruins all of the respective movies that dare to include this. Film composers: Stop it.
The Brood 10 cicadas have more melody, rhythm, harmony and beats than many modern-day film scores.
And in another one of the more glaring mistakes and misguided moves with “A Quiet Place: Part II,” Krasinski ends the movie with—-no real ending. There is no denouement, no climax, no real second act, no real third act, no real nothing at the end. Really the movie just suddenly abruptly and crazily just—ends. Regan and Marcus fight some monsters, they kill them–and the movie just—-ends. There’s no other way to explain it, reason with it or discuss it–because there is, again, literally nothing to explain, reason with or discuss. Since there is no real second act, no real third act, no real climax and no real denouement, the ending is unsatisfying, bizarre, unexplainable, weird, unsettling in a bad way (not a chills and thrills creature feature manner) and, well, basically a rip-off. The movie suddenly ends, the droning score stops–and the credits roll. And most moviegoers will sit there stunned, angry–and unsatisfied if you know what should have occurred in regards to storytelling, plot and story and plot development in a movie–which is, a second act, a third act, a climax, a denouement and a satisfying real ending. The ending of “A Quiet Place: Part II” is one of the more ridiculous, abrupt and amateurish endings for a major Hollywood movie in quite some time.
There’s talk that there are plans for a third “Quiet Place” movie. Those plans should be stopped, scuttled, dropped.
As the world slowly emerges from the virus pandemic hibernation, as more people become vaccinated, as the world turns to opening up and as movie theaters re-open, let’s go back to the movies without the added infection of movie sequelitis. The world has just had enough of viruses and pandemics, even figurative ones like movie sequelitis.
We need to go back to the movies with new, fresh, original and inventive stories, characters and movies.
John Krasinski struck gold with the first “A Quiet Place,” but the only thing he and his cast and crew strike here is a bucket of coal.